The Big Ten is known for its line play on both sides of the ball.
This is due to necessity as much as anything. No state in the conference can produce speedy skill players the way Texas, California, Florida or Georgia can. Nevertheless, the Big Ten states can produce big, powerful farm boys with the best of them.
Moreover, the Big Ten is the coldest conference in the country, and it's not especially close. That necessitates a lot of between-the-tackles running, and that is the domain of offensive linemen.
Last season, the conference said goodbye to a number of top-quality linemen, including three potential first-round centers, one potential first-round guard, one first-round left tackle, and one potential first-round tackle. However, their departures open up opportunities for young players.
The number of asterisks next to a players' name indicates how many years he has started. A "starter," for my purposes, had at least four starts to his credit in any one season.
Players in italics are returning all-conference honorees.
A pound sign (#) indicates a player that hasn't started consecutive years or that didn't start last year.
I based my rankings on returning experience, inherent talent (recruiting rankings), as well as what the teams and coaches have turned out in the past. For example, Iowa and Kirk Ferentz have proven they can regularly turn out quality defensive lines. Indiana and Kevin Wilson, on the other hand, have not.
Finally, a lot can change in the next few months.
This article is based on what the rosters of Big Ten teams look like, and what we know, right now.
Check out previous articles in this series, beginning with the most recent, Power Ranking the Big Ten Pass Catchers.